My military background has given me a fascination for the terrain on the battlefield of Antietam. Subtle and apparently innocuous, the lay of the land had a tremendous impact on the course of the battle. The high ground south of the North Woods, the rock ledges parallel to the Hagerstown Pike, the intermittent streams that cut across the field, and the frowning heights of Cemetery Hill may not be as well known as the Cornfield, Bloody Lane, and Burnside Bridge, but they nevertheless shape the field and the outcome of the battle.
I am a lifelong student of military history with a particular interest in the Battle of Antietam. I currently volunteer at the battlefield and devote much time to the study of this battle and the Maryland Campaign. I enjoy collecting notable contemporary quotations by and about the men of Antietam. These words often add a degree of color and character not found elsewhere in their stories. How they got here and where they went afterward is of great interest to me. I closely follow the careers of over 200 West Point graduates who served in the Maryland Campaign. From Generals Lee and McClellan to Lieutenants Gillespie and Custer, these men had a major impact on not just this battle, but the entire Civil War. These interests led me to create two Civil War related blogs, South from the North Woods and Antietam Voices, which I regularly update.
Born in Buffalo, New York, I received my undergraduate history degree from Niagara University in 1976. I was commissioned in the U.S. Army after graduation and while on active duty, held command and staff positions in the United States and Germany. I am a graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College, and was awarded a Masters Degree in National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. I continued my military career as an Army Reservist where I retired in 2004 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel with a total of 28 years of service. I am a 36-year Federal government employee, with over 25 years of supervisory experience. I have spent the last 21 years as an employee and manager for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
My perspective comes from my career in the U.S. Army. Travels took me to World War II battlefields in Europe and the Pacific where American valor ended the tyranny of Nazism and Empire. But our country faced its own greatest challenge 80 years earlier during the Civil War. And it was the critical late summer of 1862, when Robert E. Lee launched the Maryland Campaign, that fortune could have gone either way. It is an incredible story of drama, carnage, bravery, and missed opportunities that culminated around the fields and woodlots of peaceful Sharpsburg MD.
I am pleased to offer my interpretation to groups and families of all sizes and truly enjoy sharing the story with young and old alike. I frequently take Boy Scout and school groups on the battlefield for hikes and other programs and can, upon request, present my program in the uniform of a Union Army artilleryman. I am happy to tailor a program to your particular interests. Given adequate lead time, I can tailor a program to meet your specific interest.
Jim offers the following Specialty Tours: